The Portland Pickles claimed their first West Coast League series win over the weekend, taking two out of three games from the Port Angeles Lefties. After dropping the series opener 3-2, the Pickles responded with wins of 6-1 and 2-0 to secure the series win. Pitching led the way, as the Pickles staff totaled 40 strikeouts over the series. Portland is 2-1 overall, tied for first in the WCL South Division, while Port Angeles is 1-2.
Over 2500 fans filled Walker Stadium in Lents Park for Friday’s season-opener. After falling behind 2-0 early, the Pickles got a run in the third and tied the score in the fifth thanks to an RBI-single by shortstop Gio Diaz, scoring Jordan Barchus. Port Angeles retook the lead in the sixth as a two-out strikeout wild pitch with the bases loaded pushed across the go-ahead run. Portland had baserunners in each of the final four innings, but could not score, falling 3-2.
The Pickles changed the series narrative Saturday in Game Two. Designated-hitter Jack Murphy ripped a 2-run double scoring Jace McKinney and Daniel Lopez in the first inning. Center fielder Joey Cooper made it 3-0 in the fourth with a solo homer to right field, connecting on an 0-2 pitch for his first hit of the season. McKinney led off the following inning with a double, and he quickly scored on another base hit by Diaz to make it 4-0 Pickles. The home team added two more in the sixth, manufacturing both runs with two outs and nobody on base. DQ Lee and McKinney walked, and Diaz scored them both with a double down the right field line. The Lefties scored their lone run in the seventh. Portland starter John Beller (USC) struck
out five in four scoreless innings, while Tulane right-hander Connor Pellerin earned the victory pitching two innings, totaling five strikeouts and allowing one run. Relievers Zach Espinosa and Colby Wyatt pitched the final three innings to secure the win.
Sunday’s rubber game lasted just 2 hours and 43 minutes under overcast skies. Cooper went 4-for-4 to lead Portland to victory, including an RBI-double in the fourth that scored Lopez for the game’s first run. McKinney provided much-needed insurance in the seventh with a single to score Gabe Skoro. Damon Treadwell, making his first start against live hitting since undergoing Tommy John surgery 15 months ago, pitched four shutout innings while recording five strikeouts and allowing one hit. Milwaukie, Oregon native Brad McVay (1-0) struck out seven hitters over his four innings of relief work, getting the win. Brad Bonnefant nailed down the save with a scoreless ninth.
Gio Diaz went six-for-ten at the plate to pace the Pickles in the series, and also collected four RBI and four stolen bases. Joey Cooper had six hits in his final seven at-bats, and is hitting .500 (6-for-12). After striking out nineteen times as a team in Game One, the Pickles struck out a combined fourteen times the rest of the series. The pitching staff struck out a total of 40 Port Angeles hitters in the series, allowing a total of four runs. The Pickles have yet to commit a defensive error.
The Pickles (2-1, 0-0 WCL South) visit the Cowlitz Black Bears (1-2, 1-2 WCL South) for their first road series beginning Monday. First pitch is at 6:35 from Story Field in Kelso, Wash. Listen Live on the radio on AM-860 The Answer, and streaming at TheAnswerPortland.com.
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